Easy Explanation To What Is A Plumbing Process

plumbing process in a home

What is a plumbing process? Quickly, plumbing, like oxygen, is essential to the body, plumbing is vital to residential and commercial properties. Not only does plumbing bring beauty and comfort to homes, but it also protects communities from communicable diseases.

Good plumbing protects the structural integrity of properties and has been an integral part of construction and development. Plumbing features several stages that must be completed before moving into a building.

Typical House Plumbing in the Final Stages showing Pipes and Fixtures.
Typical House Plumbing in the Final Stages showing Pipes and Fixtures.

The Three Stages of Plumbing

Plumbing features three stages namely;

  1. Groundwork.
  2. Rough-in Plumbing.
  3. Finish Plumbing.

1. Groundwork in Plumbing Process

Also known as the underground rough-in stage is the first stage of plumbing works. This can be done after the walls have been poured for the basement. At this point, the groundwork can be installed, inspected, and buried. Groundwork can also be done at the same time as the rest of the rough-in plumbing.

During this phase, the plumber identifies all the waste and supply connections from the building and links them to the public utilities. They also determine where the systems will enter and leave the building.

In case there are plans to have basement bathrooms, the plumber will also need to identify where the drains will be installed in the future. Another important action in this phase is bringing the water line from the main service to the meter.

In most cases, you will be required to have an inspection done and given a permit before the services are brought to the building.

To have a better understanding, here’s a book that covers more on the topic.

Read More: 11 Mistakes to Avoid While Building a Container Home

Initial stages of plumbing installation process
Initial Stages of Plumbing Process

2. Rough-in Plumbing

Rough-in can be done after the groundwork or be part of the groundwork. However, this stage often features the installation of pipes, drains, showers, and bathtubs.

The phase is done above ground, and some of the activities that take place to set everything up, include the plumber cutting holes in the walls or ceiling and hanging pipes for connection. The plumber also installs the various pipes for waste collection and water supply.

Soldering and welding equipment may also be involved in joining the pipe runs. Often, installing the gas pipes may also be done in this step, and your plumber can do it if they have a gas ticket.

Wrenches that are normally used during plumbing
Wrenches that are normally used during plumbing

3. Finish Plumbing in Plumbing Process

The final step of the plumbing process is finish plumbing. Fixtures such as toilet appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, and a water purification system are installed during this stage. Sinks and showers are also installed during the finish plumbing.

Plumbers then check the quality of their work, such as ensuring there are no leaks and checking the water pressure before they consider it a completed job.

Plumber working on a tap/faucet
A plumber working on a tap/faucet

What is Plumbing Works in Construction?

Plumbing works in construction include eight key areas:

  1. Sanitary.
  2. Water supply.
  3. Gas fitting.
  4. Mechanical services.
  5. Drainage.
  6. Fire protection.
  7. Roofing.
  8. Irrigation.

Water supply is the most known area of the plumbing process and involves the construction, maintenance, installation, replacement, making changes, repair, and the testing and commission of the water supply service. On the other hand, sanitary plumbing works involve the above-ground installation of sanitary fixtures such as sinks, showers, and basins.

Gas fitting refers to works and installation of pipes, appliances, and apparatus involved with gas supply in the building. Plumbing works may also include mechanical services involved with installing heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in a building.

Drainage is underground plumbing work that connects waste pipes to collect wastewater to the disposal system. Roofing includes setting up a roof drainage system to collect and dispose of rain or stormwater.

Fire protection involves connecting the water supply to fire fighting equipment in a building. Irrigation involves works that connect the water services and supply to irrigation systems.

What are the Three Central Plumbing Systems?

Plumbing in any building or construction is done for two primary purposes: directing water from the service system into the building and removing wastewater from the structure. The three main plumbing systems are portable, sanitary plumbing systems, and stormwater systems.

1. Portable Plumbing Systems

Portable plumbing systems bring water from the local water mains into a building. The system includes a valve on the water main, so the water supply can be controlled when need be. The system also consists of a water meter to record the rate of use in the building.

The portable plumbing system is essentially used to transfer safe water to clean, clean, and drinking water. Portable water systems consist of straight pipes, the tee sections, elbows, and brass and gate valves. They all play different roles in making sure that water is directed to the right place.

For instance, straight pipes quickly run water to various points. On the other hand, elbows are used to support directional changes in plumbing. Finally, brass and gate valves are also used to control water flow.

2. Sanitary Plumbing Systems

As the name suggests, sanitary plumbing systems are responsible for waste removal in buildings. Sanitary plumbing systems are installed to dispose of waste — wastewater and human wastage. From this system, the waste is directed to the local sewage system.

There are three main types of sanitary plumbing systems installed in buildings. The first one is gravity systems which are also very common. They utilize the natural slope of the ground to direct wastewater into the sewage system. Worth noting is that this system is most ideal for areas with a relatively low water table and are not prone to flooding.

There are also low-pressure systems which are ideal alternatives for the gravity systems. The system consists of an interceptor tank with a chamber that holds an electric pump. The water from this system is collected to the primary sewage.

Vacuum systems is a plumbing system that utilizes electricity and, for this reason, are installed only in specific areas.

3. Stormwater Plumbing Systems

The system’s fundamental goal is to remove rain and stormwater from a building from the roof and surface and successfully transfer it away. Stormwater can be collected from the roof, where the water travels down the pipes and removed from the roof. 

Stormwater plumbing systems transfer surface water from paved and unpaved areas to prevent pooling on flat surfaces.

For areas where water gets trapped under the ground, plumbing systems are required. Subsoil stormwater plumbing systems transfer water trapped underground before running off to other buildings.

Other systems linked to stormwater plumbing systems that help transfer the water to different points include gravity-fed systems, stormwater discharge and harvesting, and pump-based systems.

Read More: How to Add Plumbing to a Shipping Container Home here.

Wrenches being used during plumbing a building.
Wrenches are used during plumbing a building.

What is Plumbing and Sanitation?

While most of the time these plumbing and sanitation may be used interchangeably, they carry different meanings. Plumbing is the system of fixtures and pipes put up in a building to supply safe water for uses such as drinking, cleaning, and wastewater disposal.

Sanitation is the making available of a sewage system and clean water supply to keep places free of dirt and waste, and prevent diseases caused by poor sanitation.

What are the Objectives of Plumbing?

Plumbing has been critical to every residential and commercial building since ancient times. Here are the reasons why plumbing is important.

1. Plumbing Ensures Access to the Most Critical Resource — Water

Through plumbing, homes get access to clean and safe water for drinking and home use. It ensures buildings easily access clean water essential for hygiene and well-being.

2. Efficient use of Water

Changes in plumbing have gone a long way in making sure that water is used efficiently by reducing wastage. For instance, water used in toilets is reduced through the plumbing systems, saving billions of gallons of water.

Thus, putting up an effective plumbing system in a building can reduce the amount of water used in the faucets, showerheads, and other fixtures saving homes money on water bills. Reduced and efficient water usage also saves on resources that would have otherwise been used to transport water.

Not to mention, rivers, lakes, and other fresh sources of water are drying up. This makes water a scarce resource due to climate change and other human activities. Therefore, it is important to use as little of it as humanly possible so that there’s enough to go around to everyone, and save our planet.

3. Prevention of Mold and Rot

Prevention of mold and rot is yet another critical benefit of plumbing systems in a building. Correct plumbing will prevent water from leaking into the surfaces of a structure, causing rot and mold. 

Stormwater plumbing prevents stagnant water from running off into other structures, destroying the appearance of the building, stopping rotting, and making the foundations weak.

Through the prevention of rot, plumbing systems help maintain the structural integrity of buildings.

4. Plumbing and Hygiene

Plumbing ensures that our homes get a good supply of clean water critical for hygiene. But, on the other hand, it ensures that wastewater is directed away from a building and does not mix with clean water.

Dirty water is often the cause of most epidemic diseases. Proper plumbing ensures that good sanitary conditions are kept in place.

5. Convenience, Comfort, and Beauty

The role that plumbing plays in bringing convenience, comfort, and beauty to buildings cannot be ignored. When plumbing systems were not put in place in most buildings, people had to take care of their business outside.

The widespread adoption of plumbing systems brought comfort and convenience, in the sense that people did not have to walk outside to take a bath. More so, communities were able to get rid of horrible environments that came about from people taking care of their business out.

Plumbing made it possible to install toilets and showers inside buildings, making things a lot more comfortable. More so, through plumbing, homeowners can install state-of-the-art shower systems and bathrooms in their homes. Bathrooms have become one of the most critical aesthetic areas in our homes.

6. Elimination of Danger

Proper plumbing does a great job of making buildings safer. Adequate plumbing can protect buildings from fires and damage caused by leakage. Good plumbing also protects the water from contamination by chemicals that can be harmful to humans. Proper plumbing also ensures the floors and surfaces are free from water that can cause serious injuries as a result of slips and falls.

Read more on What is Site Inspection here.

More on Finish Plumbing Process

As said earlier, finish plumbing is the final stage of plumbing works. It is done after interior finishing works such as the installation of tiles and plaster have been completed. During this phase, the plumbers are tasked with getting rid of the caps placed on the supply pipes and putting up plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs, faucets, toilets, and sinks, to mention a few.

Other tasks done in this phase include sealing and caulking the plumbing fixtures to prevent water leakage. Once this stage is complete, plumbers may then test their connections and check for leakage.

What Comes First in a Plumbing Process, Plumbing or Framing?

Both plumbing and framing are significant stages of the construction of a building. You might have guessed this one right, however, framing in construction comes before plumbing.

Framing is usually the second step in building a structure, and comes after site preparation and pouring of the building foundation. The complete rough framing phase involved the completion of the roof, floor, and wall systems.

After this, the house’s shell is completed, oriented strand board sheathing and plywood are applied, and the outside windows, doors, and roof are installed. 

The sheathing is then protected with a house wrap, a protective barrier to protect the building from moisture that may cause mold or rot.

The completion of the framing phase is followed by rough plumbing. This stage includes the installation of pipes and wires, sewer lines and vents, water supply lines, fixtures such as bathtubs and HVAC vent pipes. Note that framing and plumbing must be done before electrical installation. Inspection for compliance with building codes also needs to be done. 

Workers at a construction site during a construction process
Workers at a construction site

Understanding Rough-in for a Plumbing Process

The rough-in plumbing stage of construction is part of finish plumbing and involves several steps. For instance, there is excavation and laying of underground pipes that eventually serve as utility connections. Lines are also routed through the holes in the wall in this stage, and the vent stacks run to the roof.

Pipe connections are also made, and the drain and water supply lines are connected to the sewer system. Components used to attach fixtures to the plumbing system are also put in during rough-in plumbing.

It is worth noting that the fixtures have to wait for two reasons. One is that it gives the plumber an opportunity so that if it turns out that there is an issue with the installation, the fixtures don’t have to be removed to correct the issue. More so, inspection should be done before installing fixtures during the rough-in work.

In the rough-in plumbing stage, all the supply lines for a building go in place. The waste lines usually go in first, followed by the supply lines. This is because waste lines are larger. Careful planning is necessary for this stage, and the locations of the bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry room must be well-thought-out.

Why you Should do Plumbing Installation Process by Prioritization

It is also advised that plumbing be done according to priority. For instance, the bathroom should be the first since it requires the most experience and time for plumbing.

Once the lines are put in place, the plumbers must conduct pressure testing for leaks. Once the testing is complete, an inspection is done to verify the integrity of the work before the remaining phases of construction proceed.

Rough-in for plumbing often requires about three to five days. However, the total time may also vary depending on the complexity and size of the structure. Natural events and weather can also affect the speed of the completion of this phase. For instance, when there is rain and windstorms, construction projects can delay.

Plumbers must make essential considerations in this plumbing phase to ensure gravity for draining wastewater since air pressure cannot be used in this case. Failure to angle the line pipes appropriately will not see water and waste drained efficiently. It is also critical to vent the wastewater line for efficient draining.

It is essential to hire a competent contractor to do rough-in plumbing. This will help you pass the inspection. Also, it ensures the process is completed within minimal time to allow the completion of other construction areas.

Why Is Plumbing Important in Construction?

What makes plumbing a critical stage in the construction process is that it makes most household activities possible. As the pipes carry water in and out of a building and gas in the building, here is what the system supports.

1. Bathing and Showers

Without plumbing, one would have to step outside their house to bath. The plumbing system, which includes the pipes and fixtures, makes it easy and possible to access bathing water just by the turn of a tap.

2. Cleaning

Whether it is cleaning clothes, dishes, or surfaces in a building, water is needed. The plumbing system brings the water to you, allowing you to wash your dishes, clothes, and surfaces conveniently. In addition, plumbing supports hygiene, ensuring your home is protected from infections and communicable diseases.

Quality plumbing is critical in construction. Compromised plumbing that features leaks can devastate a building’s foundation or even the slab. Through quality plumbing, leaks can be avoided, hence the structural integrity of the home is maintained.

Leakages can also cause wastage, which can be translated into high water bills. Poor plumbing can also lead to water contamination, rendering it harmful for use.

Who Designs Plumbing in a Building?

Plumbing engineers are tasked with the planning, design, and installation. They have the necessary competencies to design plumbing works for commercial, residential, and public buildings. Their more specialized area of expertise mostly leans towards plumbing components of stormwater, domestic water access, and sewer drains.

Some of the areas plumbing engineers help with include the sanitary sewer, which makes them responsible for developing a sanitary sewer system from the structure to the local sewer system. Plumbing engineers also design home or potable water systems that ensure your home gets a steady supply of clean water.

Plumbing engineers also design stormwater systems and drainages to ensure the building stays clear from flooding. They also create containment processes that relieve local or municipal drainage systems pressure.

Plumbing engineers may also support the selection of efficient fixtures for the building to enhance water saving.

Worker at a construction site.
Plumbing engineer

Tips for Choosing the Right Plumbing Engineer

The quality of your plumbing is as good as the expertise of the plumbing engineer or company you engage. If you want to enjoy the proper flow of clean water into your building, efficient drainage of waste, and maintain your home’s structural integrity, here are considerations to make when selecting a plumbing engineer.

1. Insurance

Legitimate plumbing engineers are insured. They understand they could run into problems that might cause damage during their work. As the building owner, you want to make sure you are covered in case of any damage.

Ask the plumbing engineer or company for insurance before you sign a contract. This will ensure they are protected, you are protected, and your property is also protected.

2. Certifications

Accreditations and certifications will tell you if the professional has the qualifications and skills required for plumbing work. If you are looking for a professional that can also do gas and heating work, they need to have the necessary tickets to do the job.

Approvals from relevant organizations will also give you information on the kind of expertise you are working with. Ignoring the qualifications puts you at risk of poor plumbing work that can damage your building.

3. What People are Saying About Their Services

To be sure, you can get referrals from friends or family who have recently constructed homes. This way, you can trust that the plumbing engineer will deliver. Online reviews and testimonials will also give you a clue on the quality of the services of the company you are in contact with.

Final Thoughts on Plumbing and Plumbing Process

Plumbing is critical to any construction project. It ensures a building water supply is efficient and there is good sanitation. Plumbing works vary in type and also have several phases. A good plumber should be able to follow through with the specific plumbing steps in order of priority. They should also be familiar with the building codes so that their installation is safe and your building gets a green light during an inspection.

Therefore, it is very important to hire a professional plumber to install plumbing systems in your home to have a quality system. Ensure the plumbing professional has the necessary credentials and track record of doing the job well.

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